Graeme Cross is passionate about cyclo cross and road racing, the 2015 Scottish Veterans Road Champion explains why he wants the to see the cycle circuit built.
I’ve always been a bike rider. From a young age, it’s what I loved the most. The freedom it gave me to go anywhere I wanted, when I wanted, as fast as I wanted was so empowering, it still does this for me even at age 45.
I enjoy racing, It’s my passion and I regularly take part in Road and Cyclo Cross events.
Many of my skills were developed at a young age; we had quiet streets in our estate, so had the run of the place. I picked up much confidence on the bike from riding as a youngster.
In my early teens, I dabbled with some MTB racing but lost my interest as I neared my legal driving age. I got back into mountain biking in my mid-twenties for social riding and camping trips away with friends.
When my first daughter was born I bought a road bike so I could continue cycling but not spend so long away from home.
I entered various sportives as my fitness grew. In early 2013 a friend of mine said I should enter a road race, I thought why not? Sounds fun!
My first race was a massive shock to the system I hung on for an hour before getting dropped but I was hooked!
I took part in a few crit races and with improving fitness and race craft, I won the support race at the Scottish Champs.
I then started doing some track cycling at the now demolished Meadowbank Velodrome and latterly in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. I loved the short and fast style of racing as well as the development of new friendships.
These same friends persuaded me to try another discipline – cyclocross. My bike’s mech hanger broke in my first race and I didn’t finish but I was now hooked on another style of cycle racing.
Why is this all relevant? Well, I didn’t have access to a cycle circuit when I was young, and despite that, I was able to find a way to enjoy my bike riding and work to a decent competitive standard.
Imagine what benefit a cycle circuit would give to cyclists (of any age)? People wanting to get on a bike for the first time or those that haven’t touched a bike for a while could get on two wheels in a safe environment and build their confidence.
A purpose-built tarmac track would also provide an accessible entry into racing from beginner to elite standard. And, like all cycling does, it will provide the connection to other like-minded people and friendship of all ages. What’s not to love about this?
How would I personally make use of this circuit? Beyond actually racing crits at the circuit, there is definitely scope to hold cyclocross races, even a league held in the summer or winter, or both hopefully.
The opportunity to train away from the busy roads e.g. solo efforts or arranged group training sessions that would improve fitness and bike handling would be fantastic.
I think bikes are simply ace. I want as many people to feel like this too! Let’s build it!
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Photo by StefMac Photography and Thomas Haywood Aerial Photography